Monday, December 12, 2005

Requiem for a great magazine

In the ’80s the India Today group had an amazing mag called Target. I’m not exaggerating when I say that a whole lot of us used to read, adore and worship it. Target had just the right blend – it was cool and yet informative; politically and environmentally correct, and yet verrrrrrrrry funny; humanistic, and still full of the most adventurous stuff to read and do.

It was brilliantly produced in every way. There was an elegance about the layouts which few mags can replicate today. The writing too had so much clarity and crispness. Sigrun Srivastava, especially, had a gentle undercurrent of humanism in her stories. With people like Ruskin Bond writing for the mag, there was a lot of good reading material in there. There were tons of Funnies and make-n-do pages (my absolute favourites!). Target literally had something for every mood.

The indefatigable Moochwaala by Ajit Ninan was, I think, his best work ever. He’s just never had such a canvas again! And the tuneless Gardhab Das – possibly inspired by Cacofonix the Bard – took care of the slightly sadistic streak that all kids have. He was bashed, beaten and humiliated, but he just wouldn’t stop! Target had some absolutely sublime artists – there was Atanu Roy (whose skills were consistently brilliant), Neelabh and Jayanto, and some really whacky guys who had a deliciously gross, Mad-inspired style.

What was really unique about Target was that it simply radiated energy and enthusiasm. It’s unbelievable that so many talented people managed to gather at one point in time and space. Makes you wonder why there can’t be another Target today – are kids too jaded? Or are publishers too wary?

Sigh… meanwhile, we have a small stack of old Targets left, and are hunting for more. If you’re thinking of hurling out any, give us a shout!

PS: What was your fix? Was it Children’s World? Or Tinkle, Chandamama or Champak?


Just Mohit said...

Remember Nandan?
Also Children's World was great for day-time reading, as was Suman Saurabh
It's great to read your stuff. Keep writing guys!

Bijal said...

Hey Anita, Amit, Thanks for putting up these two nostalgic cartoon strips. oochawala and Gardhab were two companions of mine when I was a teen....


the quiet indian said...

i read them all..champak, tinkle, targety, tintin, asterix, zoro..walt disney comics, all amar chitra kathas.. etc.. etc.. with i could get those wonderful years back.. ha haa..!!

Mukul said...

thanks so much for mentioning target. i still have some copies with me. it was such a beautiful magazine.. i was a member of 'target club' and still have my badge somewhere!

and then one day it became teens today and that was the end.

tangled said...

ah Target :( *sigh*
Some of the most memorable stories I've ever read. I can still remember them today...

mrajshekhar said...

i used to collect all the cartoons by ajit ninan. should still have those lying around somewhere. let me know if you guys want 'em.
and, verily, great magazine. nothing comparable to it ever since.

Shruthi said...

I loved Target too! I remember all the stories, the illustrations - it was perfect!
Thanks for this post! :)

Jace said...

Damn, I miss Target!

t2 said...

Ah i miss Target!! All i had were my cousin sister's old issues but i devoured them with great joy!!
I wish they still published magazines like that.

Why did the stop publishing it?

mohit said...

i remebrer target had taken out three ANNUL issues...which were not part of regular subscription? any one knows how to get hold of them???

mohit ahuja

kalyan kumar said...

hi there...feels really nice that many still remember TARGET...i am very lucy and i have to thank my dad for constantly bring that magazine since time immorial..i have a quite a few say bout 80 and have the last copy as well..which i would love to transfer to my

Anonymous said...

I was an Amar Chitra Katha and Indrajal comics kid. Till I discovered Enid Blyton. And my overriding memory is of how cheap AKCs were then -- my mother would buy every release for me for the princely sum of Rs 1.50 each!

BloggyBloggerson said...

Hey..I know its a little late for a comment now, but well now is when I read this..Hence!
I've read the whole lot of 'em Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle everything...but I dont know if it was not available in the south or something,I've never even heard of Target till a few days ago!!
And then I look it up and people have such amazing thigs to say about it...My girl friend was the one who tld me about it and I really really really want to read it!!! and I thought it would be great if I could get a copy for her Birthday...coming up
So any idea you guys where might one find a copy(live in Delhi btw)..I know you all would like one too...but did u have any luck since you've posted this blog Anita/Amit?
Would really appreciate a reply
Thanks hell of a lot!
PS: I obv would let you know too if I find a source :)

Himanshu Nautiyal said...

How about scanning them and putting them online. If you are in Bangalore or Delhi, I can do it for you. I doubt that the legal owners would object.

BloggyBloggerson said...

That sounds like an idea...and if they do object its only good cos that way we know that there is still someone whos the guardian of it so to speak and can get the old mags from that person...altho I highy doubt such an occurence!
I do plan to go to old mag store chappies this weekend...will let u know if i find any there
Sidestepping from that issue...has anybody read gokulam? wasnt really great or anything...but pretty much in the lines of champak et al.

Anonymous said...

This was such an amazing post to stumble across! I recently write a similar requiem to another magazine (in which I have not been terribly kind to Target, perhaps unfairly!) called Quest which was published from Chennai, for a short 3 years.

Despite what I've said about Target in my post, I did enjoy it a lot. Thanks for this!

Planetashu said...

Hey.. nice stumbling on this post.. how i reached here: saw a website link sent by a friend ( which i thought reminded me of Ajit's World (the sequential cartoon page).. then thought i'd search for it on the web..
Boy it would be great if someone could scan the illustrations in target and post them..
BTW another comic magazine i really miss is the Commando..
My dad had religiously bought Target and commandos for years.. termites got them else i could have given all you guys scanned copies of almost everything you've mentioned.. tinkle/ chandamama/ Targets/ Asterix/ Tintin/ Chacha chaudhury/ Mandrake & Phantom/ Some lost superheroes comics (Wonderwoman, plastic Man, green Lantern etc.), Superman/ batman... boy the dumb termites dint know what they goot their teeth into.. today i realise it was a fortune..

BTw if anyone wants i have scanned copies of asterix..

Lemme know on
and some tech guy should also tell me how to e-port the huge data..

Vinayak Razdan said...

I used love this magazine. It was the best. Recently found an old copy at my cousin's place. Here isthe cover of 1988 Annual Issue of Target Magazine

Deepanjan said...

I just loved TARGET! Who wouldn't!! I would wait impatiently for my subscription copy to arrive...and when it did, I would suspend all other work to read through my favorite magazine!

Any luck getting scanned copies?

Anonymous said...

Rosalind Wilson used to be the editor of Target when the magazine was at its prime. Then she passed away and a new editor came and changed it into a crappy teen mag with models and fashion and all that. She got rid of Moochie and Gardhab and funny world and things to do and all the good things we grew up loving. I hate her for doing this great disservice to Indian publishing and hope she regrets it herself. Target remains part of my growing up and I have saved almost all copies of it for my children for them to enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Hi there !
I finally got the Moochwala digest online, it's posted at ~~ ~~
Do go through the comments, as i've
posted two other special target collections, and given the links there.
And a special request to Anita&Amit -- if u have those old Target issues till now,please scan and upload them,or you can get in contact with the group of "scanners" who've put up the blog i mentioned before - they're a dedicated bunch, and i s'pose some are also based in pune/mumbai.

Anonymous said...

I got to know that i could download target 89' annual issue after reading your blog.
Thanks a lot!!!
Target is the bestest!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi - I have all Target magazines from 1986 to 1994 or so except for some months where there was a break in publication. If some one can help in scanning will be glad to lend on a returnable basis. I am based in Bangalore and can be contacted on

Rama said...

I don't know if all the 'Target' magazine lovers are still around here. It's been such a long time since this was posted. If you're interested, I'll share a link for April 1988 issue of Target (PDF) that I scanned and uploaded yesterday in Google Drive. Just let me know, please!


Unknown said...

Hi Rama,
Target fans are scarred for life :) so we're all around and appreciative of old copies even as pdfs, I'm sure!
Thanks :)

Rama said...

Here is the link, Anita:

Unknown said...

rama, thanks! will download and then gush :)